Benefits of RDI for autism

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Benefits of RDI for autism

Relation Development Intervention, RDI, was created by a gentleman named Steven Gutsy, and he believed that there are core social developments that are missing for kids with autism. What he suggested is that somewhere probably when kids are in their infancy, or maybe even toddlerhood, what happens is they missed social emotional cuing. And so what he suggests to parents is to slow down your conversations so you can keep pace with a child who has autism. Work with them to create wonderful social experiences. When you have social experiences, you're really retraining the brain in the area of dynamic intelligence. Dynamic intelligence is that ability to be creative and spontaneous in novel situations. That's real tough for kids with autism. On the other hand, what our kids do really good is something called static intelligence. That's just memorizing stuff and spitting out facts. We want to go ahead and have that wonderful creative bond with children. So that kind of spontaneous, wonderful intelligence, that creative, dynamic intelligence really shines through.

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Esther Hess, PhD

Pediatric Psychologist

Dr. Esther Hess is a developmental psychologist. She specializes in the assessment, diagnosis and treatment of children with developmental delays, regulatory disorders and language impairment, specifically autism, Asperger’s Disorder and Pervasive Developmental Disorder, not otherwise specified.  In addition, she treats various psychological ailments including, affective disorders, selective mutism, school phobias, attention deficit disorder, non-verbal learning disorders and difficulties as related to childhood response to parental divorce. Her expertise is in the utilization and application of a developmentally based psychotherapy (the DIR model) as devised by Dr. Stanley Greenspan. This model, conceptualized as Floor Time, takes into consideration the various underlying elements that may be impeding the child including where he/she is at developmentally, various biological constraints, and the relationship between the child and the parent. 

In addition to working with the impacted person, Dr. Hess interfaces with the entire family and coordinates the efforts of the various members of team specialists who assist in boosting the impacted individual’s developmental lag.  She is currently one of Dr. Greenspan’s Senior Clinicians on the West Coast, certified in  D.I.R./Floor Time and has trained parents, interventionists and clinicians both nationally and internationally in the developmental/relational method known as Floor Time.  Dr. Hess is the executive director of a multidisciplinary treatment facility in West Los Angeles, Center for the Developing Mind.

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